The social impact sector is a complex ecosystem of funders, philanthropists, nonprofits, government agencies and programs, social entrepreneurs, individual influencers, and activists. The space is tangled, messy, and imperfect. What worked yesterday may not work today or tomorrow. It is sometimes unfairly scrutinized or criticized. Other times, meager results are offset by good intentions. And the sector struggles with some of the same structural inequities that exist in the rest of our society.
This messiness can lead your social impact organization to fall into the traps of mission creep, reactionary thinking, and lackluster progress towards reaching your mission and vision. The root cause of this is a lack of clarity, focus, and diligence in staying true to your path, preventing you from owning your unique perspective, approach, and strengths. While you do not need to make it your mission to fix philanthropy (unless that’s your thing), you must carve out a niche within the ecosystem.